Amaus Health Services Opens Dental Clinic with Help from Grant
While providing primary medical care to the medically underserved, the staff at Amaus Health Services Clinic, located at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, discovered that patients often neglected their teeth for years. Limited access to local dental care services for the uninsured was causing this lack in oral maintenance.
“Since the inception of Amaus Health Services in 2007, our providers and staff have cared for many patients with dental disease,” said Dr. Lynn-Beth Satterly, a practicing doctor and supporter of the Clinic. “The patients continually told us they had nowhere but the Emergency Room to go to for dental issues.”
Although there are several local clinics that cater to the uninsured, their wait times can average six months or more. This limited access causes many patients to simply ignore the issues they are experiencing until they affect their ability to work, or the pain is so severe that they can no longer tolerate the problem.
This summer, Amaus Health Services introduced dental services to offer a place for the uninsured to access stable and continual dental care. Services include routine teeth cleanings, oral cancer screenings, fluoride treatments, education on self-care, supplies for dental hygiene, and also extractions when necessary for adults, teens and children. A Community Foundation grant helped the clinic purchase necessary dental tools, equipment, and a dental chair.
“The Community Foundation grant was a main source of funding for getting the clinic up and running,” said Lynn-Beth Satterly. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to offer our patients dental care, in addition to our established medical services.”
The dental clinic is run by a diverse volunteer staff, including a medical director, nurses, patient educators, social workers, and administrative staff. The staff works hard every day with the hope that the clinic will decrease incidents of dental disease, pneumonia, abscesses, endocarditis, poor blood sugar control, pain, missed days at work, and prolonged antibiotic use, which often go hand in hand with dental neglect.
“We’re really looking forward to addressing one of the greatest unmet needs in Syracuse- dental care for the uninsured,” said Dr. Dasher, a volunteer dentist working at the Clinic.
The clinic sees patients every other Wednesday from 10pm-3pm, every Saturday from 10am-2pm and on Thursday evenings once a month between 5:30pm-8:30pm. Starting in January the clinic plans to introduce two more days of operation. Appointments are preferred but walk-ins for emergency problems are welcomed.